Apple unveils HomePod … Report shows Aldi shoppers save most … ATO review “inevitable”

Apple has unveiled a slew of new products and features at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, including a new “smart speaker”, updated Macbook iMac and iPad models, and new features for voice assistant Siri.

Techcrunch reports the company has released a round, pill-shaped smart speaker dubbed the HomePod, which is positioned as a music-focused competitor to Google’s “Home” device, as well as Amazon’s Alexa. The HomePod will use Siri to take voice commands and queries much like its competitors, but has beefed-up music offerings. Apple chief executive Tim Cook says will “reinvent home music”.

Next in line is the company’s newest selection of its popular Macbook and Macbook Pro laptop range, with a faster processor and a bigger hard drive. The company also unveiled a new version of its iMac offering, called the iMac Pro. The desktop computer features a seriously powerful 8-core processor, 16GB graphics processor, and has a base price of $US5000 ($6720).

The company also revealed that Siri will be getting smarter, with a new voice, the capability to do instant translations and increased security. Siri will be able to be asked follow-up questions and learn from how users interact with their phones during the day.

Choice report shows Aldi shoppers save most

In a revelation that will likely surprise few, consumer advocacy group Choice has found shoppers can expect to save when shopping at Aldi: nearly $80 on a basket of groceries, compared with similar shops at competitors Coles or Woolies.

According to a Choice survey, even when “budget baskets” of groceries were compared, Coles came out as the most expensive at $99.40, Woolies following close behind at $97.31, and Aldi coming in cheapest at $91.76.

“Although the big supermarkets make a lot of very loud claims about value, it’s clear Aldi is Australia’s cheapest supermarket and it is forcing the big two to compete on price,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

On a per-state basis, the cheapest shops could be done in South Australia, where the most expensive baskets were in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Inspector-General of Taxation says ATO probe “inevitable”

The Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi has told Fairfax that a review into the ATO in the wake of the recent alleged $165 million tax fraud is “inevitable” and that his office would likely “expand our work program to do such a review”.

“We are working on its timing and scope. The community is welcome to continue providing feedback on these issues,” he told Fairfax.

Noroozi today announced a separate review to examine the future of the taxation profession, looking at how digital disruption such as automation and artificial intelligence could change the sector in in future.

“The Australian tax system, its administrators, taxpayers and tax professionals alike, will need to rise to this challenge and respond to it. The Commissioner and the profession both requested and support this review,” Noroozi said in a statement.

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